Atlético Madrid had unforeseen problems in defence and midfield this season, but those were based more on injury problems than inexplicable drops in form of their best players. Jan Oblak, Diego Godín, Stefan Savić and Filipe Luís were in the top six with the most minutes played, but Oblak did miss a large chunk of the season with a dislocated shoulder and Atlético had to contend with a hole at right back for the final month-plus of the season.
André Moreira: N/A
The 21-year-old did not play a single minute for Atlético this season after he was recalled from Belenenses following a preseason injury to Moyá. The 6’5’’ Portuguese now is set to join Benfica on a permanent deal.
Miguel Ángel Moyá: 6.8
Moyá filled Oblak’s increasingly large boots when asked in the middle of the season and Atlético drew two and won six of those eight games. The 33-year-old does not possess the same athletic gifts that Oblak does, but he again proved himself a reliable backup to the Slovene and he helped get Atleti back on track after a run of poor form in the winter months.
Jan Oblak: 7.2
There is no smoke without a fire, and when you hear Oblak’s name mentioned in transfer rumours linking him to some of Europe’s biggest teams, it is because he has elevated his play to the next level - or at the very least, remained so consistent that people are taking notice. He is now being mentioned alongside the likes of David de Gea and Manuel Neuer as one of the finest shot-stoppers in the world. He missed eight games in the league and while Atlético didn’t lose in any of those games, the team was knocked out of the Copa del Rey while he was out and there was more unease in defense.
Stefan Savić: 6.5
Heading into November, Savić was playing inspired football, some of the best in his career. In September, he ruthlessly shut down Robert Lewandowski for the second time in six months as part of building his resume as an emerging top-drawer defender. But on Nov. 1, Savić was sent off in a 4-2 win vs. Málaga, and he struggled to find form through to the end of the season. The Montenegrin’s lack of pace and difficulties holding his position made him a weak link in Atlético’s strong defensive chain. While he blocked more shots than anyone else this season, that doesn’t mean he was actually good. The 26-year-old needs to earn his place in 2017-18.
Juanfran’s decline started in earnest in 2016-17. Years of playing with little rest in a high-intensity system caught up with him, as he missed half of Atlético’s Champions League games and missed two months with two separate injuries late in the season. He experienced a brief spike in form while playing as a winger in January and February, but that too was short-lived. Šime Vrsaljko has overtaken him as first-choice right back and Atleti may move on from the 32-year-old next summer, as Juanfran’s contract is up and the club do not seem too keen on a renewal.
José Giménez: 7
Injuries and inconsistent form plagued what should have been a breakthrough season for Giménez. A balky groin and a penchant for devastating defensive errors led Simeone to try him out in midfield - where he was exceptional thanks to his speed and aerial ability - before he was asked to fill in at right back and got hurt again. Cholo will have a choice to make as to who will partner Diego Godín in 2017-18; it’s very possible that Joséma’s more reckless, freewheeling style better serves the side in midfield.
Lucas Hernández: 7
Lucas appeared only 22 times in all competitions during the 2016-17 season. That’s less than 40 percent of Atlético games, and that’s honestly an unacceptable figure for such a talented defender. Personal issues aside, the 21-year-old is a gifted, mature defender who can deputize at left back when necessary. He probably should start next to Godín next season but will play more regardless.
Šime Vrsaljko: 7.2
Almost certainly Atlético’s signing of the season. He had become Simeone’s first-choice right back by January and the team was not the same after he went down with an ACL tear on March 19. The good news is he’ll be fit for next season, where we will again bear witness to his excellent crossing ability and impressive work rate.
Diego Godín: 7.3
Godín suffered a bit from not having a regular partner throughout the season and his form really dipped over the season’s final month. Still though, the Uruguayan rang up a solid season and did nothing to detract from his status as a top-flight center back. The 31-year-old chipped in with three goals this season, in addition to his outstanding leadership as second captain and his superb tactical knowledge.
Filipe Luís: 7.8
By far Atlético’s most consistent, most dangerous defensive presence all season. Filipe showed no signs of slowing down in his age-31 season. He scored a career-best three goals this season and provided seven assists in all competitions. His crossing, dribbling, pace and defensive ability make him quite possibly the world’s best left back, and while he will need a deputy when Atleti’s transfer ban is lifted, that player cannot expect to displace the world-class Brazilian immediately.
Who was Atlético’s best defensive player in 2016-17?
This poll is closed